Tuesday, 03 March 2015 02:48

Viewer of the Month: Vince Lia

Vince is a rising star. Mark my words, he will become a vegan household name. I met Vince when he signed up for the Pick My Brain sessions and I was blown away by his enthusiasm and commitment to spreading the healthy vegan message. He has a fantastic website and has a budding YouTube career. Most importantly, he is one of the friendliest and most passionate vegans I have ever met. I'm so excited to introduce you to him today and learn more about his history along with you.

Hey everyone, my name is Vince Lia and first let me say that is an honor to be chosen as an Eco-Vegan Gal Viewer of the Month. I am the man behind the website Healthy Vegan Guy, which is centered around plant based recipes and provides information to educate and inspire others about the benefits of living a healthy vegan lifestyle.

Of course, my life wasn't always like this. Growing up in an Italian family, I was constantly surrounded by cheese, meats and desserts that I ate daily. That was until the day I first heard the words "ulcerative colitis" (UC) that changed my life forever. It was November of 2005 and I started experiencing abdominal pain that I just disregarded as something small that would pass, but it didn't go away. The breaking point came when the pain became so unbearable, I felt like I was going to pass out that I left work and drove myself directly to the doctor's office and then to the Emergency Room. After being discharged, they still did not know what was wrong with me. My first GI doctor had me trying various medications with no luck. It was not until I asked for a colonoscopy that my diagnosis was finally confirmed, but now what?

vince lia bell

I was told don't eat vegetables, don't eat this, don't eat that, that you become almost scared to eat anything. My condition and symptoms proceeded to get worse, my medications became stronger, and the effects that this condition can have on you physically is just as bad as the mental toll it takes. I couldn't leave the house without knowing exactly where I was going and the number of bathrooms I could stop at along the way. My life revolved around going to the bathroom and I gradually stopped participating in any physical activities because of this fear, such as playing basketball, running, hiking, etc. My body wasn't absorbing any nutrients and I proceeded to loose about 40-50 pounds. It was at this point that I knew I had to do something.

I started a few diets, some of which did improve my condition slightly, but it wasn't until I migrated to toward a plant based and vegan diet that I noticed substantial improvement. I started by having a fresh juice every morning from a local juice bar. I remember having this and waiting to see how my body was going to react, since I hadn't eaten any raw vegetables in years, and surprisingly, I made it through without any issues. In fact, I felt better. I then gradually introduced salad and vegetables back into my diet, and let me tell you, a salad never tasted so good after not having it for years!!

vince lia muscles

I gradually eliminated meat from my diet, then all other animal products until I became fully vegan, and that's when the fun started. I started spending more time in the kitchen cooking some delicious vegan meals. I was making food that tasted so good, I didn't even miss the food I once had as a child. Why miss that food when I could create something that tastes just as good, or maybe even better, in my unbiased opinion....haha. I was exposed to world that was not only about food, but an overall lifestyle that I naturally gravitated towards and quickly embraced. I wanted to share this information with others, which I why I decided to create the website. Although I do still take some medication, I have been able to reduce it and hope to become medication free soon. When looking back, you can say that having UC has been a blessing. I may have never embarked on this journey and met such an amazing group of people that share in this passion and live their life with a purpose.

Vince's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: "It is hard to pick a favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video, since there are so many to choose from, but a recent one stands out in my mind. It was a video Whitney did with Colleen Patrick-Goudreau and Michelle Cehn to discuss the response to Beyoncé's Vegan Meal Plan. It struck me because we all begin our vegan journeys for different reasons. Most of us consumed animal products at one time in our lives and we should support any progress and embrace it as a positive change, since we never know where someone is on their path. Progress over perfection....right Whitney?"

Right Vince, you know it! :-)

Follow Vince's journey:

Published in Viewer of the Month
Saturday, 29 November 2014 15:50

Viewer of the Month: Victor Rivera

Victor is one of those people who gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside, which is remarkable given that he's a total tough guy on the outside. I'll never forget when we first communicated online - he won a giveaway I ran and his response started with "OMG YESSSSSSS!!!! I've never won anything EVER" and ended with "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" I loved his enthusiasm and passion. About a year later he reached out to offer her personal training services and we've been in touch off and on ever since. Victor is a fantastic role model for vegan men. Ladies, try to contain yourself when you read what an amazing husband and doggy dad he is!

Hey Fellow EvGers! My name is Victor. I moved to Los Angeles (A.K.A. “Vegan Heaven”) about 12 years ago from the Boston area. I have a wonderful wife, son and two cute dogs, and all of us are vegan (yup, our dogs are, too!). I am also a certified personal trainer, wannabe blogger, as well as a student at UCLA, pursuing a degree in psychology.

victor rivera dogs victor rivera dog

I would say my vegan journey probably began in my early youthful days, as I have always had a passion for social justice and compassion. I’ve seen firsthand, as well as voraciously read about, the plight of the poor, minorities and women, so standing up for the voiceless and oppressed has always been important to me.

victor rivera family

I met my wife, a long-time vegetarian, about eight years ago, and whenever I ate a burger, she would say, “Moooooo.” While I know she was being funny, I also knew that it hurt her to see someone eating her favorite animal. So knowing that I might be with her forever, I decided to look into this vegetarian thing. I began reading “Fast Food Nation,” and was quickly appalled at the treatment of the animals, migrant workers, and the general behavior of the meat, dairy, and fast food corporations. My wife was also reading, “Skinny Bitch” at the same time, so about a day after I decided to go vegetarian, we began planning how to go vegan.

While I went vegan for the animals and the environment, I could’t believe how much my health had changed. As someone who suffered from IBS for 10 years at that point, my condition basically vanished upon going vegan. I also lost nearly 70 pounds simply by changing to a vegan diet, and a basic exercise routine! So these days, I enjoy sharing the benefits of a vegan diet to the world, as well as proving that you can be just as strong and healthy eating plants!

victor rivera before after

About two years ago, I went to Chef Chloe Coscarelli’s book signing in Santa Monica, and my wife said, “Hey, there’s Eco-Vegan Gal!” I said, “You’ve never told me about her!” Apparently my wife had been following her forever but held out on me. So that night, I went to ecovegangal.com and was blown away! I am totally one of those people with about a thousand different passions and always wondering which one I should “pick,” so I was astounded that someone could combine journalism, physical health, mental health, veganism, hygiene, the environment, how to be your best self, business skills, and about a million other topics under one umbrella.

Not only does Whitney cover all of these categories, she does so in multiple formats (i.e. the regular Eco-Vegan Gal channel, “Live Q and A,” “Uncensored,” and so on) across multiple platforms (her webpage, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc.). So I would say I follow Eco-Vegan Gal because she seems to have a video or article about all things vegan and general day-to-day life issues, and also because her various sites help me improve my ability to have an impact on the world, as well as as better my own personal and family life.

Victor's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: "My hands down, favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video is, “Education and Power Can Change The World,” because it captures what Whitney is all about: The importance of “Inspiring, educating, and empowering” others, as well as ourselves. I get fired up every time I watch this, and I hope you do, too!" "

 

Follow Victor's journey:

Published in Viewer of the Month

It is estimated that 1 in 5 people in the US have dandruff, which amounts to approximately 50 million citizens. Yikes - that’s a lot of people struggling with itchiness and embarrassing white stuff on their dark clothing! Fortunately they can all breathe easy because this unpleasant scalp condition can be prevented and treated naturally through some simple lifestyle choices and home remedies.

Published in Hair and Nails
Saturday, 20 July 2013 22:28

The Scoop on The Low Carb Diet

The word "diet" has a bad connotation these days: it conjures up themes of deprivation, malnutrition and low success rates. Many diets are started because of social pressure from friends, family and the media, and when that's the driving force there's a higher chance of failing since there's less emphasis on a healthy structure. I experienced this first hand as a teenager - I thought I was chubby so I tried all sorts of fad diets and none of them worked long term. It wasn't until I educated myself on nutrition and payed attention to the signs my body was telling me about food sensitivities that I got to a healthy weight and stayed there.

Published in Health Food

Do you ever feel like your body is a little off? Maybe your stomach is upset, you're getting sick more often than usual, or something is off with your reproductive organs… Sounds like your internal bacteria friends have gotten out of hand! There are lots of factors that can lead to unruly bacteria - common culprits are stress, medication, process foods, illness and travel. Basically, when you don't treat your body right it revolts and sends you signals that somethings gotta change. In addition to cutting back on the things that harm you, it's also helpful to introduce probiotic culture into your diet. For this very reason I recently tried out Ultimate Flora's line of high potency probiotics and am impressed with the quality and results.

Published in Holistic Health Care